Make Paper lanterns

There are plenty of sites on line showing how to make paper lanterns, but none quite as impressive as this one. It takes basic materials, a little skill and a lot of patience. Follow these simple instructions and make your own.

Making paper lanterns is fun, and this one can be proudly hung in your room all year round. It is similar to the ones children carry in the St Martin’s Day Parade. You will need:

    • Three sheets of lightweight letter size paper (the lighter the better).
    • Glue or tape.
    • Crayons, markers or paint
    • Needle and thread.
    • Two craft sticks, popsicle sticks or strips of card (optional).
    • Patience and nimble fingers!

Step One: Coloring

    • Take the three sheets of A4 paper, and glue or tape them together lengthwise to make one long sheet.
    • Fold the paper in half lengthwise and color, the outside of the paper, on both sides.
    • You can put a picture, a pattern, or just a solid color.
    • The top of the picture will be along the fold.
    • It is best just to use a pattern or solid color the first time, until you understand just how it goes together.

Step Two: Folding

    • Fold the paper in concertina fashion, the same as for a paper fan
    • Fold about a half inch fold one way, then the next fold the other way.
    • Press well on every fold, to make sure it is well creased.
    • When you are done, this is how it should look:

Step Three: The Tricky Bit!

You need to separate the two sides of the paper.

    • First, unfold the whole thing, just a little.
    • Next, refold each side separately.

    • You should end up with one fold at the top, and two edges, making a v-shape.

    • Press on all the folds again.

Step Four: Fixing

    • Take a needle and long thread, doubled.
    • Pass the needle through each fold of one edge.
    • Leave about 1 inch of thread hanging loosely and pass the needle back through the folds.

    • Tie off the thread, with about 1 inch slack at either end of the folds.
    • Repeat on the second edge.

Step Five: Opening the Lantern

    • Pull out the folded edges of the paper, it should unfold in a circle.

    • If your lantern seems to have a big hole in the center, you can fix it by tightening the slack in the threads.

Step Six: Hanging your Lantern

    • To hang the lantern you need to put some kind of a hook at the top.
    • I have found the best way to do it is to stick a popsicle stick on either side of the join, or a thin strip of card.
    • Punch a hole through both sticks.
    • Tie thread, string, or use a paper clip to make a hook.
    • St Martin’s Lanterns should really be hung from a pole, but you can hang it anywhere.

Lighting your Lantern

    • It is very important to NEVER use a candle with a paper lantern.
    • You can light your candle by suspending a small flashlight in it, or getting an adult to help you rig up a battery with a bulb inside the lantern.
    • You can hang the flashlight or bulb from the sticks.


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